I never thought I’d love mountains the way I do now. I was raised in one of the flattest parts of the UK where the biggest hiking challenge was being driven by giant hailstones into waist-deep mud. In August.
So I was surprised to discover I got a real kick out being hundreds of feet above the Mediterranean, temporarily monarch of all I survey. (Especially at one of those wonderfully high points where you can see almost the whole island laid out in front of you.)
At this time of year, when the weather turns cooler, I dig out my walking boots and contemplate the peaks of the Tramuntana Mountains that tower over Deia through what I like to think are the narrowed eyes of a seasoned climber. (Actually, saunterer or dawdler are more accurate).
People who’ve grown up in Deia have an enviable nimbleness when it comes to skipping from rock to rock, even in flip-flops, as well as built-in navigation systems. But the rest of us need to be careful. It’s easier to get lost than you think. I’ve taken the wrong path and nearly walked off a cliff more than once. Last summer, after a very long lunch down at the Cala, I set off for Llucalcari with a couple of friends visiting from London, overshot, and ended up in Soller.
This is why, if you’re not truly familiar with the mountains, you should never leave home without a good map. Or, better still, with a guide like Deia’s own Marc Reynes.
Local people, local guides
Marc is Deia born and bred so there’s no doubt for him Deia is special. In March this year he was one of the people who opened Deia Activity in the village high street. From April to October, Deia Activity offers canyoning, hiking, climbing and cycling. “We opened our shop because we love sport and nature and we know Deia’s the perfect place to enjoy both,” Marc says.
Deia Activity offers local guides who really know the Tramuntanas and can make walking in the mountains as safely challenging as you like. The shop is open every day from 8.30 to 14.30 and 17.00 to 20.30. As well as arranging for a walking guide, you can rent bikes and buy sports and cycling clothes designed by Deia Activity.
Marc’s favourite walks
Marc has two of these. The first is Es Cami Dels Pintors which goes from Cala Deia to Llucalcari. I’ve done this a number of times and it is great but a little hair-raising in places.
The second walk is to Es Teix, the mountain that looms over Valdemossa. As Marc says, “the views are beautiful and all you hear are the birds, goats, and sheep bells”. I seem to remember being told that Es Teix was designated a sacred mountain by a visiting Tibetan Buddhist Rinpoche, which may explain why Marc finds it so peaceful.
When I climbed Es Teix with my brother, who had a couple of beers and fell asleep under a tree halfway up, the views were spectacular. I can’t say it was particularly peaceful though. One of the great things about Mallorquin people is that just about anything is an excuse for a huge picnic. When we reached the top of Es Teix the plateau was filled with groups of chattering climbers tucking into vast amounts of food.
So, if it’s a more spiritual, contemplative climb you’re after, you might want to set out nice and early in the morning.